Responsible Funds, Nov. 14: Nordea’s ESG-heavy emerging markets ‘stars’ fund boosted by Solaron research

The round-up of responsible funds news

Nordea Asset Management’s $1.1bn Emerging Stars fund, using research provided by India-based Solaron Sustainability Services, has outperformed its benchmark by 6% a year since inception in 2011, according to both firms. The fund used Solaron, which was founded in 2007, for research for 50 focus stocks. Nordea and Solaron are holding a webinar to overview the process that led to “such an exceptional performance” on December 3, said Antti Savilaakso, Head of Research, RI at Nordea and Vipul Arora, Managing Director at Solaron. Link to fund info.

Trillium Asset Management’s Fossil Fuel Free Core strategy outperformed its S&P 1500 benchmark in the third quarter, which the SRI firm said could be mostly “attributed to our lack of exposure to the energy sector” as oil prices fell. The strategy, launched in 2007, returned 1.4% gross of fees, against a 0.4% performance for the benchmark, according to a fact sheet. Year-to-date, returns are 6.4%, against a 7.5% return for the benchmark. The strategy is headed by Senior Vice President Elizabeth Levy, who joined the firm in 2012 from Winslow Management Co.

The €75.7m ONE Sustainable Fund – Global Environment, run since 2013 by CONINCO, has reported one-year performance to the end of October of 12.29%. The two-year return is 44.44; since inception in 2011, the fund has returned 59.69%. The Luxembourg-domiciled fund was originally founded by the WWF-linked Living Planet Fund Management Co. ONE is a thematic fund investing in companies that provide services and technologies with positive environmental and social impact.

The €115.4m Tareno Waterfund returned 6.0% in the month to the end of October, against a benchmark (MSCI World Index Net TR Euro) return over the same period of 1.5%, according to its latest report. Year-to-date performance is 13.9%, versus a benchmark return of 15.0%. The fund, which launched in 2007, is domiciled in Luxembourg and run by fund firm Tareno AG in Basel. It “invests in global businesses of the future that either directly or indirectly offer products and services related to the value chain of water”.

Dutch development bank FMO has teamed up with the Green for Growth Fund, Southeast Europe (GGF) and Istanbul-based banking group Fibabanka in a “club deal” to provide a credit line of €40m dedicated to Fibabanka’s new energy efficiency lending business. The GGF is a Luxembourg registered SICAV that is managed by Oppenheim Asset Management alongside fund advisor Finance in Motion. Link*€18bn Dutch railways pension manager SPF Beheer* has backed to two ‘frontier’ investment funds, according to a report in Citywire citing the fund’s SRI Portfolio Manager Nadja Franssen. It said the fund has recently added exposure to the Actiam FMO SME and the Annona Sustainable Investment offerings. She was quoted adding: “We were one of the first to join the SME fund because we think it is important to not only make money with the assets you have but also to help people.” The report goes on to say that all businesses must meet strict ESG criteria to receive financing via the Annona Sustainable Investment fund.

AXA Investment Managers will reportedly offer its impact investing fund of funds strategy to external investors. The move is in response to growing client demand, according to a report in Australia’s Professional Planner. AXA IM’s responsible investments team last year started working with AXA Group to develop the approach with some €200m of internal assets.

Allianz Global Investors (AGI) says AREF, its €150m renewable fund for institutional investors, has acquired two solar parks in the German state of Brandenburg. Financial details were not disclosed. The 55MW parks, known as “Green Tower II and III,” are located at a former military airbase, and with a power capacity of 55MW. Armin Sandhövel, Chief Investment Officer for infrastructure equity at AGI, noted that while the government had recently cut back on subsidies for solar power, the parks would likely not be affected. “We are therefore especially pleased that we were able to secure such a profitable project for our investors,” he added.

Greensolver, the Paris-based wind and solar farm asset manager, has launched Greensolver Index, a performance benchmarking tool for the UK and Irish wind and solar energy markets. The new index enables asset managers and investors to move beyond relying on isolated project portfolio performance information to analyse energy generating asset performance. The firm said it “ensures that a new generation of clean energy investors can feel confident in their investments”. It means that investors and owners can continually monitor the performance of their portfolios in relation to other projects on a “completely anonymized basis”. Initially created by Veolia Environment in 2008, Greensolver became independent in 2012. Link